In collaboration, the Diocese of Palm Beach and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office will hold the annual Blue Mass on Friday, September 29, at 8:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens. The Blue Mass is held annually to pray, to remember those who have fallen, and to support those who serve in law enforcement, fire, paramedic, and emergency and safety services.
The Mass is open to all active and retired law enforcement and safety officers from different local municipalities, federal, state and local jurisdictions. Also invited are their families, friends and those in the community who wish to show their support for these public servants who risk their lives every day for our communities. People of all faiths are encouraged to attend.
The annual Mass began 83 years ago in Washington, D.C., and its popularity spread following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The sacrifices first responders make every day plus the extended hours many worked during the recent Hurricane Irma are two reasons the Diocese hopes for a strong turnout this year.
“At a time when all first responders are under increased threat, we are more cognizant than ever of the contribution that they make to our well-being and safety,” said Very Reverend Albert Dello Russo, Chancellor of the Diocese of Palm Beach. “The Blue Mass is our way of honoring these brave men and women who serve our communities, and to ask God for his protection of them. We encourage people of all faiths to join us to honor and celebrate the service of these public servants who risk their lives for our safety.”
Father Dello Russo will be the Main Celebrant of the Blue Mass and will offer a blessing to those in attendance. The Mass will begin with a presentation by an Honor Guard from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and will be followed by a procession of the uniformed and plain-clothed officers in attendance.
Dianne Laubert, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Palm Beach, says the Blue Mass provides those of any faith an opportunity to reflect, pray and offer thanksgiving.
“I know there are people who attend the Blue Mass to show support for those who are emergency and safety officers but there are also those who attend to remember a co-worker, family member or friend who died in the line of duty. When you attend the Blue Mass, one can sense the feeling of community, unity and compassion,” adds Laubert.
The Blue Mass is named such in recognition of the uniform many officers wear. In the Catholic Church, the Blue Mass is held annually on or near September 29 on the Feast Day of St. Michael the Archangel, the Patron Saint of police officers.
Following Mass, refreshments will be served in the parish hall for those in attendance.
The Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach encompasses the five counties of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee. Comprised of 282,000 Catholics in 53 parishes and missions, the Diocese also serves the faithful community through its elementary, middle and high schools.